POLITICS

Paul Mason Sticks Two Mickey Mouse Fingers Up At George Osborne

03/03/2016 15:38 GMT | Updated 03/03/2016 16:59 GMT

Journalist Paul Mason has hit back at George Osborne after the chancellor accused him of having less economic expertise than Mickey Mouse.

The Conservative Party has attacked Labour for hiring former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis as an adviser.

And speaking in the Commons yesterday, Osborne also mocked Jeremy Corbyn for taking advice from Mason, the former Channel 4 News economics editor.

Describing Mason as a "revolutionary Marxist", Osborne said: “Presumably they chose those two because Chairman Mao was dead and Mickey Mouse was busy.”

In a blog post today, Mason said he had not been hired by Labour and had simply agreed to speak on a panel alongside shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

mason

Mason wrote: "It’s up to the Labour Party whether they listen to what I say. But it is very specifically not formal advice.

"As for the Mao/Mickey Mouse jibe, I was tailed for hours in 2008 in Beijing by the secret police of Mr Osborne’s favourite Marxist government, after interviewing the victims of Mao’s Great Leap Forward.

"I am happy to state that Mao was a despot whose policies killed millions; I look forward to hearing Mr Osborne say that on his next trip to China.

Mason added: "Mickey Mouse on the other hand is a universal 20th century icon representing the triumph of the little guy against the bully, the innocent against the corrupt, the weak against the strong. I am happy to be identified with those ideals."

Mason ended his blog with this picture

Mason recently announced he was leaving Channel 4 News to go freelance. The 'Postcapitalism' author said this was to allow him to speak more freely.

"Channel 4 News is the best news programme on TV; Newsnight where I worked for 12 years is still a beacon of ideas-led television in a dumb and dumber world, so I’ve had a good run in state-regulated broadcasting," he said.

"But everybody who knows me also knows the price you pay in terms of having to button your lip. Fifteen years is enough — and with a space opening up where the left of social democracy meets the radical left, green and autonomist politics, I’ve got to engage seriously with that."

Speaking at one of his economic seminars last night, McDonnell noted Cameron and Osborne liked to mock Varoufakis and Mason.

"Some people will bring along with them ideas of their own, it will be contentious, but we want to engage in that debate," he said.

"It is raising the level, well maybe not in the House of Commons, but it is raising the level of economic debate generally across society."

With that in mind, the shadow chancellor added he was also "not allowed to do jokes anymore" and is "not allowed any props, in-particular small books".